I’ll light the candle if you promise to tell me
how it looks from the other side, if the rain
sounds like beads on the hardwood floor
before furniture came to dull the echoes
against bare walls I painted with samples,
making rainbows for you through the house.
this isn’t the first time I’ve called your name
or asked you to breathe into the soft of my ear,
dared you to whisper that song just to see
if I can find you. I wear your sweater for days
sometimes, walk downtown and ride the bus
to see if you’re waiting for me with stories
about the afterlife, how god is a dying star
but no one minds his dimming when
there’s so much to come back for. come back
for me. I’ll make French toast at 1 am,
sit with you at the table your father made
from trees in Kentucky until
you agree it’s better here. once I tried
to shoot a deer through the eyes but couldn’t
stand the separation it would make,
the truth of this life and another one only
seconds apart and who am I to take it. yesterday
a wren made its nest in the gutter and I cried
because no one is prepared for floods
when they come, or to pack away the shoes
you never untied. here I am in this room again,
asking for a sign. blow the candle out.



Christen Noel Kauffman